A small business owner approached his internet provider to set up broadband for a new business premises. During the connection process multiple issues occurred. First, the fibre connection was delayed, then once fibre was connected the customer was charged for both fibre and an interim wireless broadband service they had arranged for up until the fibre installation was completed. Finally, once the new business site was up and running, the provider disconnected a separate broadband connection of a completely different business site, belonging to the same customer. The multiple issues and extended completion timeframe resulted in confusion, frustration, and inconvenience. Due to the issues that occurred the customer requested an apology, refunds for both sites, and compensation for loss of profits.
TDR may determine a complaint is deadlocked if it's been six weeks or more since the customer contacted their phone or internet provider and the customer still doesn't have a resolution that they are happy with, or if a complaint raised with a scheme member by TDR remains unresolved after 15 working days, whichever comes first. When determining deadlock, TDR will take into consideration the complexity of the issue, the desired resolution, as well as whether escalating the matter will assist in resolving the complaint. Considering the timeframe involved since the issues first occurred, this matter was immediately deadlocked by TDR and the customer and scheme member were requested to provide formal submissions.
The TDR scheme adjudicator confirmed the complaint was within TDR jurisdiction as the matter was about customer service and information. There were questions as to whether the scheme member had met its obligations in terms of the principles outlined in the Customer Complaints Code, in particular clause 5 which notes that: scheme members will treat customers with respect and in a fair and courteous manner at all times; all information given to the customer will be accurate, up-to-date and in plain English, acknowledging telecommunications technology is fast moving and complex; and that scheme members will be clear in their communications to customers. The scheme adjudicator acknowledged that there would be certain aspects that a TDR Resolution Practitioner could not consider, such as granting an award for indirect loss, however that did not prevent the matter from being discussed and for TDR to provide formal assistance.
TDR recommended mediation to the parties, so they could explore the issues and solutions together with the help of someone independent. Through the dispute resolution process, the customer and scheme member reached a mediated agreement where the scheme member acknowledged, apologised and provided a good will payment for the issues the customer had to deal. Both parties left the mediation satisfied and the customer continues to receive broadband services from the internet provider.